EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. While that full form might be a mouthful, this wonderful psychotherapy approach is great for treating emotional distress that may arise from perturbing life experiences.
So, whether you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic and anxiety attacks, or are having a hard time coping with grief and loss, trying out EMDR may be a great option. Today, we'll be taking a brief look at what this therapy is all about, how it works, and how effective it is.
With that set, are you ready to achieve the best version of yourself? Well, then let's dive right in!
What is EMDR Therapy?
Francine Shapiro, the brains behind EMDR, bases the therapy around the idea that our brain, the wonderful piece of meat it is, boasts a natural ability to heal our emotions. However, negative circumstances sometimes overwhelm this little guy.
So, EMDR therapy sessions help you relive those negative experiences in a safe environment, aka the therapist's office. All the while, the therapist directs the movement of your eyes. This causes bilateral stimulation of the brain and helps it get back its healing powers. Amazing, no?
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR therapy is broken down into eight phases that usually last 12 sessions. The first three phases are all about identifying and assessing the traumatic experiences that have got your emotions all riled up. The therapist will also help you cope with these memories by utilizing stress management techniques in the second phase.
Phases 4 till 7 are all about using the EDMR methods to help you focus on traumatic moments in small doses. Trust us when we say that the distress caused by these reflections will begin to fade away over time. The eighth and final phase will have you evaluate your progress throughout the sessions.
How Effective is EMDR? Does It Really Work?
As per the EMDR Research Foundation, the EMDR therapy is fully validated and has been tested in more than 30 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). These types of clinical trials are considered the gold standard for studies since randomization eliminates bias.
The institute also claims that just three 90-minute sessions were enough to cure around 84-90% of single-trauma PTSD victims. Talking about PTSD, the Department of Veterans Affairs also strongly recommends EMDR for the treatment of this anxiety disorder.
This treatment isn't only great for the short term but also for the long run since, according to a study conducted in 2004, participants who were treated with EMDR showed lesser symptoms of PTSD long after the treatment was complete as compared to PTSD survivors who were treated using standard care (SC) treatment.
Remember how we said that this psychotherapy is great for treating grief as well? Well, a study in 2015 concluded that EMDR showed 'great promise' in treating depression since 68% of the subjects were fully cured while others showed significant improvements.
While EMDR may be triggering in the beginning and side effects may include vivid dreams and interrupted sleep schedules, trust us when we say that it will be worth it in the long run. It's okay if you feel overwhelmed at the start and talking to your therapist about it will help in a big way.
The important thing is that you keep going.
Traumatic experiences may have trapped you in a dark tunnel but don't be scared because there is surely bright light at the end of it. You just got to reach out for it!
Know When To Get Help